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Province commits $50M for high-speed internet in rural areas

Jinny Sims
Jinny Sims

Government is making the largest investment in connectivity in the province’s history, with $50 million to expand high-speed internet service for people living in approximately 200 rural and Indigenous communities.

Citizens’ Services Minister Jinny Sims made the announcement this morning in Prince George, along with Northern Development Initiative Trust and AscenTECH Solutions.

“High-speed internet provides the foundation for British Columbians to access online learning and tele-health care, conduct business and be alerted in an emergency,” said Sims. “Connectivity helps small communities grow and prosper by creating jobs, attracting new residents and enabling more young people to stay in their hometowns, close to their loved ones.”

Since July 2017, projects supported by the Connecting British Columbia program to improve high-speed internet connectivity are underway or completed in 417 communities, including 74 Indigenous communities, or nearly 43,000 households.

“This new funding demonstrates that the province is deeply committed to expanding connectivity and improving the quality of life of people living in rural and Indigenous communities,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Better access to high-speed internet helps close the digital divide between urban and remote areas and opens up countless opportunities for people throughout B.C.”

The Ministry of Citizens’ Services provides resources and expertise to help communities design new digital infrastructure in order to maximize the benefits of improved connectivity. Local governments and internet service providers are encouraged to work together to find the best solutions that meet the specific needs of their communities.

“High-speed internet is essential for companies of all sizes to grow their operations, reach new customers and offer innovative products and services,” said Lynda Pattie, executive director, AscenTECH Solutions. “Investments in broadband services inject new life into our local economies by creating opportunities for traditional and modern industries to thrive.”

Learn More:

Connecting British Columbia program: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia/

Connectivity resources for communities: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/connecting-british-columbia-resources/